Judge Sides With State Department in Green Card Lottery Lawsuit

More than 22,000 people who believed they had won a spot in the US State Department’s green card lottery lost a federal appeal to have the results of the lottery stand, according to multiple reports.

On May 19, the State Department announced that a computer glitch caused their system to award green cards to individuals who had submitted their appeals within the first two days of the application process for the Diversity Visa Lottery in October 2010. Ninety-eight percent of those chosen during that lottery were among the first to apply for permanent residency as a result of a problem with a new randomizer program, the department said.

The Diversity Visa Lottery attracts millions of applicants each year and provides permanent residency to about 50,000 foreigners each year. The State Department said it would conduct a new drawing in July.

Although a class action lawsuit representing those who had their US dreams dashed was filed to block the new drawing, a federal judge dismissed the case last week, supporting the State Department’s argument that the results were not truly randomized.

“The Court cannot order the Department of State to honor a botched process that did not satisfy that regulatory and statutory requirements” of randomization, wrote US Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a 35 page ruling.

A majority of people receive green cards through the sponsorship of family members already living in the US. Those who apply must have a relative file a Form 1-130 Petition for Alien Relative Form.